Critic Ian McNulty visits Maypop and finds that the Louisiana-meets-Southeast-Asian restaurant is “ambitious, affable and bent on forging original cuisine.” The restaurant chases flavors, without regards to borders, says McNulty.
He praises dishes like the cured red snapper: “pristine curls of fish formed into a wreath of fermented beans.” He find the squid ink bucatini “brawnier,” but still multi-layered. McNulty experiences “a landslide of back-of-the-mouth umami from an intense, sculpted dish you unpack slowly, bit by bit” when he tastes the brisket crusted with miso-spiked blue cheese. He appreciates the twist on Amandine that soft shell crab season brings, “with almonds shot through the fry batter and pressed into a rich, roasted essence for the frothy brown butter.” He finds the coconut and cucumber ranch dressing laden chaat salad “light” and “deceptively rich.”
What doesn’t work is that there are sometimes so many flavors in a dish that “they can leave you wishing for the clarity of a nice steak and a dose of restraint.” For example, a dish of a few crawfish tails and a fried disk of jelly-textured calf’s foot “wasn’t quite a salad, wasn’t really a soup, and was too weird to work.”
This restaurant can be on the expensive side, so try lunch when prices are lower to save a few bucks. Also check out the dim sum brunch and cool cocktail list. [ADVOCATE/ IanMcNulty]
Critic Helen Freund visits Neyow's Creole Cafe, where she stands in a long line before getting a table and feels “comforted” because “at a time when many restaurants are struggling, there are still places that are doing just fine.” Even if she had been annoyed by the long wait, “all was forgiven, because the food was that good.”
She tries the Bow Wow fruit punch, “a near-lethal rum drink topped off with bright red, sugary punch.” She throws props to the grilled oysters, with “garlicky, smoky, buttery sauce” that “just begs to be sopped up.” The fried crabmeat patties are “succulent.” “A dark roux gumbo was as good as they come.” She also likes the stuffed crab, the barbecue Gulf shrimp, and the bread pudding. [GAMBIT]